A Stratford woman has filed a lawsuit seeking an emergency preliminary injunction in federal court to stop a bank from repossessing her house Tuesday.
Margarette Charles claims Norwalk Deputy Chief Clerk Edmond O’Garro denied her equal access to the court by refusing to accept a notice of appearance on her behalf in a mortgage foreclosure case.
She filed suit Monday, claiming O’Garro’s refusal to allow relatives to file court papers on her behalf when she was ill helped the bank win a default judgment against her.
U.S. Bank N.A. has put Charles, who lives with four relatives on Graham Street in Stratford, on notice that it was going to repossess the house on Tuesday.
Charles missed two payments on her mortgage, according to her relatives. She was ill, and had asked her ex-husband Lexene Charles and his new spouse Heather Lindsay to go to the clerk’s office on her behalf to get the case on Norwalk’s housing docket.
But an employee in the clerk’s office redirected the couple to Norwalk’s Housing Court, telling them the court would be handling the matter, according to Lindsay.
However, the administrator, O’Garro, repeatedly refused to allow them to file documents that would have put the case on the docket, according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
“He would not tell us why he was not filing the paperwork, and he was getting boisterous,” Lindsay told the Connecticut Law Tribune. “Margarette is not handling this well. She is hysterical right now. She lost her medical insurance and is in bad shape.”
O’Garro declined comment Monday.
Margarette Charles, who speaks little English, referred all comment to Lindsay. She is representing herself in court.
Lindsay said she and her husband attempted to go to the clerk’s office on Margarette Charles’ behalf, at her request, because Charles was too ill to do so herself.
“She was sick with the flu,” Lindsay said. “She busted her up ankle and had multiple surgeries. She had a bad break. She does work, but because of all that was going on, she missed two mortgage payments.”
The lawsuit states Lexene Charles and Lindsay were Margarette Charles’ proxies, and had every right to act on her behalf to arrange a hearing with the housing court. It states the couple first tried to get a hearing on the town’s housing court docket on April 1, but O’Garro denied them.
About three weeks later, on April 24, Lexene Charles and Lindsay made another attempt to file a notice of appearance and a writ of audita querela, seeking relief from any potential negative judgment. A clerk’s office employee accepted the filing and time-stamped it, but the lawsuit claims the notice of appearance never made it to the court docket.
On April 26, Norwalk Housing Court granted the bank’s motion for default judgement. It allowed the lender to take possession of a property, because it appeared Margarette Charles had ignored the lawsuit by filing no response.
Now Margarette Charles is asking the court to intercede. Her emergency injunction request to block the bank from taking possession of the house is pending before Judge Stefan Underhill.